Honoring Grandmother Water

Maine_ShoreSummer has passed; autumn begins Tuesday. For now we live in the gap between climate and astronomy. Here in Northern New England autumn jumps well ahead of the sun; spring usually lags behind. Fall is often a time of water, the autumn rains refilling the lakes and aquifers for winter. In the cycle of the Medicine Wheel it is the time of Water, Emotion, and Dreaming.

The fall has been dry so far, the gardens need rain. Many gardeners around the region will likely see the growing season end tomorrow night. Here, right up against the warmth of the lake, the killing frost is often much delayed. Our garden have some time before the first freeze comes sometime in October, and rain would be most welcome. Continue reading


Autumn-BerriesThe weather has turned damp and chilly, with the temperature only in the mid-fifties. A couple of days ago the first Titmouse of the season landed on the garden fence and looked into our window with that classic  “Why is the feeder empty?” look. Fall has certainly arrived!

A few nights ago I dreamt about prophesy. In my dreams I longed to heal the world, to stop our country’s headlong dash towards Darkness. Then, near the time I awoke, my vision turned inward and I saw my own inner suffering and turmoil. In the dream I was shown that I have limited influence on the larger world, but I might have great influence in my inner domain. Continue reading

The Spirit of South Wind

South_Wind_WavesYesterday, Grandfather South Wind blew strongly for much of the day. In the evening Jennie and I packed a picnic and headed for the lake. Jennie had noted that we would not have many more opportunities for our beloved picnics this year, so off we went.

When we arrived at the lake the South Wind tugged at our plates, and kick up waves large enough to body surf on. The South Wind takes many forms, from the gentle breezes of early spring to the gales of autumn. It is now, in early autumn, that I feel closest to the South Wind, for now he drives the warmth before the cold. In the day or two preceding each cold front the South Wind whips up the lake, pushing big waves before him, and forcing water into the south-facing bays.

I say “he” as there is something distinctly male about the South wind of autumn, compared about the female winds of early spring that bring the thaw and awaken the green ones. The autumnal South Wind bears tidings of dramatic change, immediate and unstoppable. He calls all to awaken and prepare for winter, brings down leaves and branches, and fills the sails of late season voyagers. Continue reading

In the Presence of Good People

Red_LeavesThis evening our neighborhood gathered for our yearly picnic. The evening was cool, the sunset golden, and the mosquitoes held off til deep twilight. The lake was perfectly still, deep blue, and just slightly reflective of the fiery clouds that lay atop the mountains. Around 7:30 the full moon rose over the hill and rooftops, accompanied by flocks of geese heading home to roost. Continue reading

In Wilderness Is the Preservation of the World


A few days ago I wrote this for “Wilderness Week” at Bardo. Then, the other evening, while looking at a book of Porter photographs, I saw one of the same view as mine of the tidal marsh and mountains. It is a remarkable vista.

Originally posted on THE BARDO GROUP:

Tidal-Marsh I came of age with Eliot Porter. Not literally of course. Rather, my adolescence and young adulthood were accompanied by his books and photos. He taught me how to look. Even now, his photographs influence my writing and visual work.

A few weeks ago we were in Downeast Maine, north of Bar Harbor. Every few days we drove south, down Penobscot County way. Eliot Porter spent much time in the Penobscot region, as well as out West. Out West, his photos were panoramic. Downeast, they were more intimate, capturing a brook, leaf, or pod of berries. If memory serves me, his iconic book and homage to Thoreau, In Wilderness is the Preservation of the Earth, drew heavily from his Penobscot experience.

People tend to think of wilderness as vast tracks of untouched ecosystems. Yet in ourWater_Striders time, there are few such places. Climate change and other forms of pollution…

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Goose_FountainNow that September is here so is summer. This afternoon the temperature is in the upper 80’s with high humidity, and thunderstorms are off to our west.  All this suggests we will have storms later. This would be good as the land is very dry.

Maybe as a result of my last post, maybe because there are fruit flies in the kitchen, I find myself thinking a good deal about offspring. Self replication is a function of complex systems. Of course, offspring are not exact replicas of us. Rather, they are unique beings, reflecting the conditions of their personal trajectories through life. Why, they don’t even necessarily look like us, although I’m not sure this applies to fruit flies. Still, our kids arise from us somehow. Continue reading

Disability and Medicine

Tidal_MarshI’ve been thinking about disability and Medicine. Somehow the idea came into my head that being disabled and doing the work of Medicine are incomparable. This idea certainly did not come from my teachers. In fact, some of them were quite ill.

Truth is, illness and disability have never disqualified healers in my view. Rather, I have marveled at their perseverance and compassion for themselves and others. So this notion of being disqualified is an enigma. Continue reading